The Process Swiss Army Knife

Have you ever been frustrated because you KNOW that a specific tool is all you need to fix something? Maybe you believe you need to hire an assistant to ease the office workload. Maybe you want a time tracking tool to keep track of the hours you can bill to a client.

Then some process geek comes along and tells you that you need to take certain steps before you can get that tool that you know you need.

Typical process consultants making mountains out of molehills (or peacocks out of processes), right?

Maybe You’re Both Right

Perhaps it would help if you thought of business process analysis like a Swiss Army knife.

There are many sub-tools in the famous red pocket knife, and each one is important in its own way. If you’re out fishing and the only thing you brought with you besides a fishing pole is your Swiss Army knife, you know that you are ready for all the stages of the fishing process.

You might use the pick to dig for worms, the screwdriver to tighten the screws on your fly reel, the scissors to cut the line when you land the big trout, the knife to clean the fish, and the bottle opener to have a celebratory drink! (Or you may use the saw to cut the branches that have ensnared your line, but that’s another story.)

If all you brought with you was a knife, you might be ok, but you would be making things harder for yourself. Sometimes, the tool that is so obvious to you is only part of the solution. click to tweet

First Time Right

In the world of business process analysis, you need a Swiss Army Knife of tools. You need a proper problem statement, a couple of process maps, maybe a fishbone diagram, some data, and a communication strategy. Without using these tools, you’re only doing half a job, and you may just cause more problems for yourself that you’ll have to fix later.

Why not do it once and do it right?

Let’s use an example: Things are crazy busy in your office, and you just cant keep up with administrative demands. You know that you need an assistant, and you are annoyed when your office consultant advises you to do a bit of process work first.

You may very well be right. But without process analysis how will you know you’re getting value for the salary dollars you will expend? How will you describe the assistant’s job duties and ensure that they fit in with the rhythm of your office activities? Will you simply hand over current processes, without knowing if they are efficient and effective?

Being the smart business owner that you are, you’ll take the time you need to structure things properly, so that not only can you hire that assistant, but you know that it will be money well spent!

Do the process work. Prove the solution. Be first time right.

Until next week,

PS – Make sure to follow us on Twitter @whiteboardcons to stay up to date on what we’re up to this week. Have thoughts or ideas? Use #betterfastercheaper to join the conversation!